The deliciously simple Newfoundland Five Star Cookie Bars use the most inexpensive ingredients and taste like a million bucks! Don’t substitute the Aero bars if you want the real deal! This traditional confection earns a five star rating every single time!
Let me start, Dear Reader, with a confession. I’m not sure if this recipe is a traditional Newfoundland recipe or not. But, for my purposes, I’m going to refer to is as so. And, in a minute, I’ll explain. Newfoundland Five Star Cookie Bars are the fifth cookie in Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas series!
WHY THEY ARE CALLED FIVE STAR COOKIES
Have you ever had those moments when something finally clicks in your brain and things start to make sense; things that you had questioned for so long? I cannot tell you how many times I had questioned why these bars are called Five Star Cookie Bars. I thought maybe it was because of the number of ingredients. But, that didn’t quite make sense, because there’s actually six ingredients.
It didn’t hit me until just now that they are probably called Five Star Cookie Bars, because they are five stars in taste, texture, and ease. I tell you, Dear Reader, I can be so slow to catch on sometimes. But, if I’m being honest here, I’ve asked others the same question before. (I won’t mention any names!) And, their response was, “I’m not sure.”
If Newfoundland Five Star Cookie Bars were given the name because of a rating then it makes complete sense. But, now I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the five Aero chocolate bars that are placed on top after the bars have been baked. I guess I’ll never know!
And, in a way, I guess it doesn’t matter. Newfoundland Five Star Cookie Bars, most commonly named Five Star Bars in Newfoundland, are delicious. Trivial things like how they got their name really shouldn’t be of concern.
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature! To be perfectly honest, I have made these with both salted and unsalted butter and there’s no difference in taste or appearance once all is said and done. Use what you have on hand.
- Graham Crumbs – Easily found in the baking section of any grocery store, these are crushed graham crackers. You can use whole crackers and crush them yourself using a food processor.
- Coconut – Baking coconut comes in sweetened and unsweetened and in different sizes. Unless otherwise stated, use unsweetened coconut when baking otherwise the result might be too sweet. Be sure to check the size too – is it supposed to be shredded, grated, etc? The size of the coconut will affect the outcome of your recipe.
- Canned Condensed Milk – This recipe has not been tested with low fat condensed milk. Depending on where you live, the size of the can my differ. Be sure to have the full 14 ounces!
- Vanilla Extract – Probably the most common extract and the most common flavouring used in cakes and cookies. You can substitute vanilla extract for other flavoured extracts in most recipes if you don’t care for vanilla flavour.
- Aero Chocolate Bars – I do believe these are Canadian, so if you’re outside of Canada, you will want to use chocolate bars that are very airy. Aero is full of bubbles! You could also use mini milk chocolate chips.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
In some cases, we want more than a cookie. That’s why I have two more Christmas-themed collections you might want to consider. The first, is my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, and the second is my 12 Biscotti of Christmas. Click on the image below to see each collection all on one page with links to each recipe!
A VERY COMMON CONFECTION IN NEWFOUNDLAND
These bars were common during my childhood. Mom would make them regularly, not just at Christmastime. When I was married though, my ex-wife and her mom used to make them only at Christmastime, from what I can recall. I think that was the time in which I came to appreciate them most, because my ex-wife’s version tasted better than my mom’s.
I only make these at Christmastime. Unlike my mom who would make them any time the mood hit her, I think they are a great cookie to make at Christmastime, because they are so easy to make and since we all tend to be a little busier at Christmastime anyway, I like to save the easy cookie and square recipes for December. It just eases my stress levels.
You see, Dear Reader, as much as I love Christmastime, I do stress out about it probably way more than I should. My love of Christmas, which was inherited from my mom, comes with the need for perfection. I know, I know, that’s not how it should be, but I find immense pleasure in trying to perfect Christmas, so much so that it outweighs the stress.
So, you see, I offset it by making lots and lots of varieties of cookies and squares. Some are super easy like these Newfoundland Five Star Cookie Bars, and some are a little more complex. Whatever your level of baking skills, there’s a cookie for you in my 24 Cookies of Christmas series.
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These cookies will stay fresh for about 3-5 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these cookies, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. They will come out of the freezer looking just like they did when you put them in there as long as you don’t stack them. If you must stack, lay a sheet of parchment paper between each layer. To thaw, remove bars from freezer and place them on a wire cooling rack for 20 minutes. Once you thaw them, they will taste just as fresh, and be just as soft, as the day you first baked them.
Newfoundland Five Star Cookie Bars
- 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 2 cups graham crumb
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut, fine or medium shred
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, canned
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 5 whole Aero chocolate bars
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add the butter, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk to a bowl. Blend together with a hand-held mixer. You are not beating these ingredients! At this point, we are basically stirring them together well.
- Add the coconut and graham crumbs. With the mixer on low speed, incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet.
- Transfer this mixture to the parchment lined pan. Press the mixture flat and into the corners.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- While the bars are baking, unwrap the Aero bars and break them into chunks.
- As soon as the bars are out of the oven, sprinkle the Aero chunks evenly over the surface. Allow the bars to sit for 5 minutes.
- Use an offset spatula to evenly spread the now soft Aero Bar chunks over the top of the bars.
- Allow the whole thing to cool to room temperature – at least 3 hours!
- Lift the bars out using the parchment paper. Cut into 16 squares. Store in food-safe container in the fridge. Can be frozen too!